Posts tagged ‘vegetables’
Everyone has a slightly different meaning of appropriate cook-out foods depending on your cultural and regional backgrounds. Growing up in NJ, a summer BBQ always meant hamburgers and hot dogs, potato salad, and chips. To my husband, who was born in Brazil, no cook-out is complete without linguica (Brazilian sausage) and short ribs. I have also heard that BBQ and cook-out can signal two totally different affairs if you are from the southern US.
No matter what, it is hard to disagree that anything off the grill just screams summer. My husband got a new Weber charcoal grill for his birthday yesterday, so we are excited to have many grilled treats this summer. Here are some of my favorite summer recipes for the grill. These are all perfect for any special graduation celebrations or Memorial Day BBQs coming up!
written by Jen
Thanksgiving has to be one of my favorite holidays. Growing up in a family of fantastic home cooks has always meant some pretty spectacular feasts. As a kid, Thanksgiving was always held at my maternal Grandmother’s house. We would start with Sweet Potato soup, a pureed soup similar to butternut squash soup but slightly thicker. Turkey was, of course, a highlight, but her creamy garlic mashed potatoes stole the show. After they retired to Florida, my mom took over hosting this holiday meal. Several new traditions were born, including a flavorful Cranberry-Apricot sauce and a crowd-pleasing French Bread Stuffing with Fennel and Sausage (both adapted from a Cooking Light cookbook). This year, I have the honor of hosting Thanksgiving in my Boston home. I will be keeping some traditions, as well as finding my own signature contribution. Here is a preview of some things that have caught Chelsea and my
eyes stomachs, all brought to you from fellow bloggers!
Quinoa Salad with Butternut Squash, Dried Cranberries & Pepitas by Two Peas & Their Pod
Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Honey and Cinnamon by My Kitchen College
Honey Butter Pumpkin Dinner Rolls by Averie Cooks
Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Bacon & Apples by Little Pink Monster
Bourbon Apple Sangria by Climbing Grier Mountain
Summer happened overnight in Boston, it seems. It has been warmer here than it has been in Southwest FL for the past few days! Now that is hot. When my thermostat reads 88F INSIDE the house, there is absolutely no way you can convince me to turn the stove on for longer than absolutely necessary, let alone even think about using the oven. I have survived 4 Boston summers with no A/C, but if it stays this hot for much longer I might break!
To beat the heat, I end up eating a lot of salads in the summer. While I love my leafy greens, salads don’t have to be so monotonous. Here are some of the things I have been making lately:
A lovely, multi-colored, Mexican-inspired salad that is sure to brighten up any meal. I mixed mine all together right away and have enjoyed it for lunch for the past few days. You can eat it plain, serve it as a side for taco night, or even fill a tortilla with it! For those of you afraid of the long ingredient list, most of the work is just simple veggie chopping! Jicama is the most unfamiliar ingredient, but is a wonderful, naturally sweet, tropical starch-y vegetable that adds great crunch and flavor. I can see this recipe easily becoming a summertime lunch staple! I think it would be fun to turn it into a layered jar salad the next time I make it!
Who said fruit salads are just for dessert? This Mango Blueberry Quinoa Salad also makes for another great lunch salad! The lemon-basil dressing is refreshing, and the blueberries and mangoes are unexpected but delicious. This is a must-make for any fruit lover!
The last summer salad I made to go along with these delicious Chipotle Shrimp Burritos with Avocado Crema. I would highly recommend these burritos – simple, spicy, and flavorful. I cheated on the avocado crema and simply mixed a store-bought packet of guacamole with a spoonful of Greek yogurt, some extra cilantro and lime. To balance out the spicy shrimp, I kept the salad on the lighter side. This literally came together with the odds and ends left in my fridge, freezer and pantry from the week! The palmitos are acidic, soft, and refreshing. The edamame provides protein and substance, and the corn has a great natural sweetness. The dressing is heavy on lime, giving it a nice, fresh summer flavor. It reminds me of a grown-up version of succotash with a little South American flavor. It could easily be made into a main meal by adding some avocado and increasing the portion size!
Question: How do you stay cool on hot summer days? My favorite response from a friend: “I eat popsicles in my underwear.”
serves 3-4 as a side dish
1 can hearts of palm (palmitos), drained and sliced
1 1/2 cups shelled edamame, cooked according to package instructions
2 ears corn, steamed (about 1 1/2 cups if using frozen)
1 cup loosely packed cilantro, minced
3 scallions, greens and whites, sliced
3 limes, juiced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp rice wine vinegar
1/4 tsp salt and garlic powder (or to taste)
Cook the edamame according to package instructions. Allow to cool. Steam the corn for 3-4 minutes. Once cool, cut the kernels from the cob. Mix the corn, edamame, and sliced palmitos together in a bowl. Add the sliced scallions and minced cilantro. Whisk together dressing of lime juice, olive oil, and rice wine vinegar. Season to taste with salt and garlic powder, then stir to combine. Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.
46F was our high today. With sprinkly rain and gloomy clouds. On April 23. That is cold, friends! Winter has not seemed to get the memo: GO AWAY. The trees are blooming, the birds are singing, the clocks have changed, and my sweaters are looking worn and tired. I have a new spring dress that is begging to be worn. The weather is just not cooperating with me here! Where is SPRING?
The only thing that can make a dreary and cold day better is soup, and this one hit the spot! This soup was inspired by a recent trip to the Asian food market. I was excited to see inexpensive Kabocha squash, so picked one up along with a bag of baby Bok choy. As I paid for my purchases, the squash rang up as “Japanese pumpkin.” And the idea for what would become of the Kabocha squash was born: miso soup! The bok choy and the squash seemed to be natural soup add-ins, and the mushrooms were a last minute thought to add texture and more body. Tofu would also be a natural addition, but I did not have any on hand and do not always love how soggy it gets in leftover soup. I used a “minute miso” paste to create this soup, which made prep minimal. I have never worked with real miso paste, so am not quite sure what modifications that would add, but most bottles come with general instructions on how to create the basic miso broth! Overall, this soup comes together in 35-40 minutes, with most of the cook time added from the roasted squash.
Is your town’s weather uncooperative as well? Then give this soup a try!
Kabocha, Mushroom and Baby Bok Choy Miso Soup
Vegan, serves 4 as main course or 6-8 as starter
1 clove garlic, minced
8-oz package white button mushrooms, sliced
6 heads baby Bok choy, stems cut off with leaves roughly quartered and separated
1 kabocha squash, sliced into 1-inch strips
1/4 cup miso paste
4 cups hot water
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp sesame seed oil
Half the kabocha squash, and then cut into slices. Toss lightly with half of the sesame seed oil, then lightly salt and pepper to taste. Roast in a 400F oven for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, saute sliced mushrooms in garlic and remaining sesame seed oil. Add the soy sauce, then cook until half of the liquid is absorbed. Add the bok choy, then turn off heat.
Meanwhile, bring water to boil in a kettle. Measure out 1/4 cup miso paste and add to a large 4-cup measure. Add boiling water to bring the total volume to 4 cups. Stir, then pour over the vegetable mixture. Stir the greens until they are well wilted.
Once the kabocha squash is finished roasting, remove from oven and gently peel back the skin with a fork. Cut into chunks and add to soup. Bring soup back to a boil, then remove from heat. Stir and serve warm.
I spoke too soon! I may have mentioned that I rarely receive excited unknown veggies anymore in my Boston Organics box… well, the veggie gods must have taken that as a complaint and decided to throw me a curveball.
That, right there, is (not my own picture of) kohlrabi. I had no idea what this strange and questionable vegetable was until I googled it. I had heard of kohlrabi before but never actually seen it (or many recipes with it) and so was at a loss until 4 failed searches in. After reading a little bit about how the inside of kohlrabi can be eaten raw or cooked, I searched some recipes, which led me to this delicious creation from Epicurious. It looked simple and amenable to ingredients I already had in my fridge and freezer, so I decided to give it a shot!
The result? Amazing! Now, I might not be running out to the store for kohlrabi to incorporate into every meal. However, I would definitely make the trip to make this recipe again, and am looking forward to further experimentation should I happen upon this veggie in my box in the future! Kohlrabi has a great firm texture with a sharp, fresh taste. I almost want to compare it to a hybrid apple and potato, but that might be a stretch. Regardless, it worked great with the sweet corn and tropical flavors from the salsa I used, and really enhanced what would otherwise be a boring white fish. The key to the kohlrabi being edible and enjoyable is to peel it well– we used an industrial peeler and still ended with some of the thick, waxy coating in the finished product. Next time I know to be more careful! Also, though sources say you can enjoy it raw, I definitely preferred it cooked! Lastly, I made mini wedges instead of dicing the kohlrabi, which led to longer and more uneven boiling. Next time, I am going to dice the kohlrabi (and suggest you try it that way!) so that it is faster and blends into the compote better!
If you find yourself with kohlrabi or a craving for something new, give this recipe a shot! It comes together in less than a half hour, including prep time, so is great for a quick, healthy and delicious weeknight meal for two!
White Fish with Tropical Kohlrabi and Corn Compote
inspired by this recipe, serves 2
2 haddock (or other local white fish) fillets
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp olive oil
1 kohlrabi, peeled well and diced
1/2 cup corn kernels
1/2 cup tropical salsa (I used Mango Salsa from Costco)
Heat olive oil in a frying pan until popping hot. Add the fish fillets and season with salt and pepper. Cook 4 minutes, then carefully flip. Season again with salt and pepper, then cook 4-5 more minutes or until cooked through. Transfer fish to oven-safe dish and keep in a warm oven.
Meanwhile, bring roughly diced kohlrabi to a boil and cook until fork tender – about 5 minutes. Drain and mix with corn and salsa over low heat. Once warmed through and well combined, spoon mixture over fish fillets and serve.
An amazing turn of events occurred this past weekend: I found a recipe for tofu that I really love! I had seen Angela’s Crispy Tofu Dippers and they peaked my interest, since it turned both her and her husband around from tofu hatred as well. I decided I had to try them, and then they sat on my overcrowded Recipe Pinsperation board for weeks. After a long overdue grocery run, I finally bought some tofu and tried the recipe for myself! I followed some advice I got last time and pressed the tofu for longer than I usually do, which helped with the texture. I cut slices, dipped them in almond milk, breaded them, and then popped them in the oven and hoped for the best. The result: crispy, crunchy tofu nuggets! I added a hint of paprika to my breading since I love spice, and was really pleased with how well the coating stayed on these! The leftovers are great reheated in the toaster oven. I also tried them cold over a salad for lunch, but was not a fan. Baby steps in my tofu journey!
Along with the tofu dippers, I made Beer Braised Collard Greens. This is another recipe that might change your mind about an unloved member of the greens family. My friend and I made these weeks back after finding the recipe on the Boston Organics website. When cooking for 3 guys plus myself, you know the vegetables have to taste good so they don’t get overlooked! These collard greens came out so flavorful that they overshadowed the rest of the meal that we prepared! The biggest problem with collards is that they can often be too chewy, so allowing them to cook in the beer for 20 minutes really helps with this problem. The hint kick of spice from the red pepper flakes really makes this dish stand out. I have made it twice since then, with amazing results every time. I followed the original recipe, only leaving out the brown sugar the last time I made it.
Question: What is one food you are learning to love?
I come from a long lineage of good cooks. My great-grandmother was a farmer’s wife and was famous for her Jell-o salad molds. My grandma put on seemingly effortless holiday dinners year after year. My mom is adventurous and instilled me with a creative passion in the kitchen. I am thankful for the lessons I have learned and recipes that have been handed down to me from each of these women! During my week in Florida, I got to spend a little bit of time with Grandma in the kitchen. She keeps up with my blog and says she has picked up a few ideas along the way!
I was honored to get to create a meal with her! As is our usual style, we looked in the fridge and pantry to see what was on hand and had to be used up. We found some zucchini, peppers, onion, sun-dried tomatoes, cannelloni beans, spinach and mushrooms. We sautéed some cubed chicken, added the veggies, and then added a few splashes of sherry cooking wine and Balsamic vinegar. We served this over quinoa, my Grandma’s new favorite grain, and added a bit of shredded Parmesan on top. The light and refreshing flavor of the veggies really shone through in this dish, enhanced by the vinegar. Plus, there was a lot of staying power thanks to all of the protein!
I also got to enjoy my family’s famous jambalaya! As you can see, I put my normal eating preferences on hold to allow for some family traditions, and this meal made it worth it! My uncle created this dish years ago during the days of family camping vacations in Cape May, NJ. We would have 3 adjacent campsites and cook huge family meals on outdoor camp stoves each night. This was great because it is one pot, hearty, and tasty! While I still do not know the exact family recipe, I did find out some secrets! As with any good stew, the base starts with onion, garlic, celery and peppers. After that softens, canned diced tomatoes and cubed chicken are added. Next, spicy andouille sausage enters the mix. This adds a huge amount of flavor and a nice punch of spice! After this has simmered for a while, the shrimp enters the pot. The secret ingredient: spicy V8 juice. This is the real trick to getting a nice, spicy tomato base! Added with the canned tomatoes, the extra spice really punches up the flavor as it simmers with all of the other ingredients. If you are anything like me or Uncle Dave, you will still have to add a bit of hot sauce to the mix to get it to your preferred spice level, but our family lets us do that in our own dish rather than the communal pot!
Question: Who has taught you the most about cooking?